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Sambar - A South Indian recipe

Servings :
Preparation Time :
Difficulty : Easy 

A liquid substance traditionally eaten with dosai, idli, vadai and rice, among other things.

Ingredients

1 large Onion, chopped into big pieces
Vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin,
Some curry leaves (if available)
Coriander leaves chopped 1T (cilantro)
Juice of tamarind size of perhaps
1/2-3/4 cup
Thur dal (cooked)
Salt to taste
3/4 tsp Turmeric powder
3/4 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds (optional)
1 tsp Oil
2 tsp Coriander seeds
1/8 tsp Asafoetida (hing)
2 tsp Chana dal
10-15 whole red chilis, to taste
3-6 tsp Coconut (shredded)

Method

Fry coriander seeds, asafoetida, chana and chilis and grind with coconut, use shredded dried if too lazy to deal with fresh. The quantity of coconut varies according to taste.

Fry the onion for about 5 minutes in a little oil with the turmeric powder. Add the vegetables and some water and cook. I would add hard to cook veggies like carrot and chatyote first and cook for a while before adding sweet potatoes and pumpkin. (Can make this also with a single vegetable, no need to use all of them.) Don't overcook veggies, but when just cooked, add the tamarind juice, curry leaves and salt to taste,

Soon after adding the tamarind juice, take a separate frying pan and heat up the 1T oil. When hot enough so that the mustard seeds will crackle when thrown in, put the mustard seeds in, once the crackling has stopped add the fenugreek seeds and stir until they turn a dark brown colour (don't burn). Then add this the boiling mixture.

Boil all together for another 5 minutes until the raw tamarind smell has left the solution. Now add the paste of masala and coconut and add the dal. Bring to a boil and switch off. Add chopped coriander leaves.

Takes 2-3 hours for the flavour to settle down, but can be eaten right away also.

Hints

Vegetables that must NOT be used are those that belong to the cabbage and cauliflower families.

While frying ingredients for the paste, throw in the coriander seeds first and fry awhile before putting in the others, otherwise the coriander seeds won't fry properly and will taste pretty awful.





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